Sharingwood’s founding mission statement

“We have joined on this land to work together to form a community for all ages, to create and maintain healthy relationships among ourselves and the wider community, and to wisely steward the native forests that surround us.

We strive to provide a living example to ourselves and the world of a healthy, viable community-centered neighborhood that exists in harmony with the land we live on.”

Our community from inspiration to actualization

Shirley Risser 1996

Sharingwood started as an intentional community in 1982 when Shirley Risser, age 72, bought half interest in a 38 acre parcel of land with the intention to create a cooperative community based on private homes with shared common elements.

After the original land plat for 30 homes was approved in 1988, and after the first wave of houses was built, we learned about Cohousing from Katy and Chuck and right away thought, AHA! Cohousing describes perfectly what we are doing here.

Sharingwood families who built the beautiful grounds of our community in the 1990s.

In 1990, a second wave of members joined, mostly younger couples with children. In 1991, after two years of legal work, we became the first “open air” condominium in Washington State and we eventually received titles to our lots. Six homes were built before titles for lots were available. Faith!

Between 1992 and today, we have completed construction in all but two building units, and built a common house, two playgrounds, a greenhouse, community gardens, and several other improvements. In 1992, we started community dinners, first rotating among member’s homes, then remodeling a basement to use as a temporary common house.

Caringwood day work party getting ready to start.

In 1993, the first “phase” of Sharingwood sold out and we began work on the second phase. In January 1995, all the Phase II options were purchased. By spring, we began construction on our common house. Toward the end of the year we came to consensus on a Phase II site plan. Then in February 1996, we began using our mostly completed common house for dinners and meetings. And finally in 1999, we received all the permits and after installing the entire infrastructure, we began the process of adding new homes, a playfield, and our large community garden.